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Feb 2020
Merciles Beaute ("Merciless Beauty")
a roundel by Geoffrey Chaucer
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Your eyes slay me suddenly;
their beauty I cannot sustain,
they wound me so, through my heart keen.

Unless your words heal me hastily,
my heart's wound will remain green;
    for your eyes slay me suddenly;
    their beauty I cannot sustain.

By all truth, I tell you faithfully
that you are of life and death, my queen;
for at my death this truth shall be seen:
    your eyes slay me suddenly;
   their beauty I cannot sustain,
   they wound me so, through my heart keen.

***

Original text:

Your yën two wol sle me sodenly,
I may the beaute of hem not sustene,
So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene.

And but your word wol helen hastily
My hertes wounde, whyl that hit is grene,
     Your yën two wol sle me sodenly;
     may the beaute of hem not sustene.

Upon my trouthe I sey yow feithfully,
That ye ben of my lyf and deth the quene;
For with my deth the trouthe shal be sene.
     Your yën two wol sle me sodenly,
     I may the beaute of hem not sustene,
     So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene.


Written by
Michael R Burch  62/M/Nashville, Tennessee
(62/M/Nashville, Tennessee)   
264
 
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